Parents: Degree Apprenticeships better than Oxbridge

11 March 2016 -


New research reveals parents are backing the improved employment prospects and value for money of an apprenticeship over a more traditional university education

Matt Scott

The introduction of Degree Apprenticeships has caused a dramatic national shift in attitudes towards apprenticeships, with 61% of parents favouring a Degree Apprenticeship with a major company such as M&S or Rolls-Royce over a traditional degree from Oxford or Cambridge.


The CMI-commissioned survey, carried out by Populus, found that more than four in five parents believe that a Degree Apprenticeship would provide their child with a better chance of getting a job than a traditional university degree, with 83% admitting they would consider taking a Degree Apprenticeship themselves if they were in their child’s position.

The research found that parents are becoming more mindful of long-term employment prospects and are recognising the significant benefits their child would gain from taking a Degree Apprenticeship.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Savvy parents are recognising the importance of their children getting their foot on the career ladder at an early age. On-the-job experience and a pathway to professional status are recognised as a surer route to future success than the jobs lottery that many graduates face today.”

The rising cost of university education (the average debt incurred by a graduate now exceeds £40,000 – more than double the debt levels before the 2012 reforms) and a competitive job market is also having an impact on parental attitudes towards Degree Apprenticeships, with 62% of parents saying they would now prefer their child to take a Degree Apprenticeship upon leaving school. Only 17% now favour a standalone degree that does not offer the work experience dimension of an apprenticeship.


But despite the popularity of Degree Apprenticeships, the overwhelming majority of parents were not aware of the options available to their children upon leaving school.

Only 13% had heard of Degree Apprenticeships and less than half of parents felt confident that they knew where to find information about apprenticeships to offer their child the best advice.

Teachers came in for particular criticism, with less than half of parents trusting them to promote apprenticeships ahead of traditional degrees, despite 77% of the 1,003 parents surveyed believing they should be equally promoted.

Business needs to do more

Many parents also believe employers should be doing more to support young people, with only 16% agreeing employers are doing enough to help those entering the workplace.

This represents a significant opportunity for employers looking to generate their next generation of leaders, with the apprenticeship levy announced by George Osborne introducing new ways of funding such schemes.

To help capitalise on the momentum being generated by the apprenticeship drive form government, CMI worked in conjunction with Serco and a number of leading employers including Barclays and Nestle to launch the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship.

Designed by employers for employers, the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship is paving the way for future generations of managers by providing professional on the job training combined with world-class academic tuition.

Melanie Nicholson, director of skills at Serco UK & Europe, said such apprenticeships should no longer be regarded as a ‘second class’ option when looking at further education and training options.

“Apprenticeships have for too long been seen as a second class choice,” she said. “The Trailblazer initiative has challenged these misconceptions by providing a route to on-the-job experience that is simply not possible through the normal university pathway.

“It’s very difficult to replicate the experiences that you get in the workplace in the classroom and every day, from such a young age, our apprentices are learning how to lead people.”

Find out more about the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeships at:

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